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Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 10 ratings 91

Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old

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@conorrob
Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old

Nose Full caramel - cloves, green apple peel, orchards, celery. The nose is green all green! Toffee. Flowers in spring

Palate Light caramel and honey, so gentle. Lavender, white pepper, the most indulgent gold cap cream with cinnamon. Apples.. oily

Finish Apple, vanilla, honey, long and gently tapering off ... Butter cream icing. Maybe marzipan 87- great all rounder and something I would actively seek out - shame it’s so expensive everywhere else but this bar ...

Thank you for the Japanese Trifecta. I suppose batch variation may explain the difference between this Hibiki 21 YO and the bottle from which I sampled (at least twice) during @fiddich1980 's tasting in September of last year. My experience was very much the same as @Onibubba 's experience. I found it to be an incredibly well balanced whisky with a magnificent nose that captivated me for the entire evening.

@paddockjudge oh I completely agree. It was a fantastic whisky that I was lucky to get the opportunity to try. Unfortunately time restraints were the biggest killer here, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with this as I would have liked. Plus I found the Yama 18 was just a more interesting whiskey, but again that may have something to do with how long I got to spend with each.

In all honesty if I were ever lucky enough to have the choice between a bottle of the Hibiki 21 and the Hibiki 17. I would choose the 17 hands down, though I do believe that to be a preference of palate rather than anything else.

@Onibubba

A few nights ago, I went to a Japanese restaurant I had not been to before. They specialized in sushi and Kaiseki - a tasting of many things selected by the chef. I was here for their amazing Happy Hour - 1/2 price sushi and drinks, but ONLY at the bar which seats around 10 people. The sushi was excellent, properly seasoned - no need for drowning it in soy / wasabi mud. The sake list was amazing, and I was focusing on that. As I worked my way through my first selection, I noticed some familiar bottles on the liquor shelf behind the bar - Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu..."Are those half price too?" I asked jokingly, expecting a firm "No." To my surprise, the barman said that they were, and handed me a drink menu. Standing out like a sore thumb, I saw it: Hibiki 21, 40.00 a pour. I finished my supper, had one more sake, and cleansed my palate for this most decadent of desserts.

My host gave me a generous pour into a large brandy snifter. Light amber, good legs. The large globe of the snifter worked wonders for nose - I may have to buy a pair of these for the house. This was really heady stuff with strong nostril warming alcohol - I mean that in a very good way - not fusel, but perfumey. I took my time nosing this. First impression was that it reminds me of Glenmorangie Signet - Chocolate, espresso, macchiato, carmels. There are flowers, specifically honeysuckle, and maybe some of the plum wine notes that the 12YO hits, but much more concentrated. Whipped cream and vanilla, then something damp, autumnal - wet clay. Then, back to chocolate, milk not dark. I could smell this all night! Taste is full of candy - let's say butterscotch life savers. It is juicy and mouthwatering, with the sweetness being tempered by just the right amount of oaky bitterness. Finishes light but with a lengthy burn. Leaves traces of honey. Residue is bitter on the tongue and in the mouth, but sweet in the throat. Also a pleasant burn that slowly, slowly works its way down.

Good enough for a second pour? You betcha.

Now I just need to find a bottle of my own. With the Suntory purchase of Jim Beam, my understanding is that Hibiki 17 and 21 are now available in the US, but only in select markets. I have seen that some stores in CA are listing the 17, and some in NY are listing the 21 at 149 and 279 respectively. That is pretty steep. I would maybe go as high as 200 on the 21, but I sure did enjoy it, and would certainly consider the purchase.

Wow. You just never know where you are going to find a great whisky experience!

@Onibubba, great review! It is always good to see such enthusiasm, and to hear of another great Japanese whisky.

On another subject, I am a big fan of brandy snifters for whisky nosing AND tasting. In general I find them to be far superior to Glencairn glasses. The big bowl glasses, snifters and otherwise, are especially good, but they are really only practical for home or restaurant/bar use. The big glasses are fragile and cumbersome to try to take on the road.

By the way, are you drinking this Hibiki 21 in the DC area, or are you back home now?

Back in the DC area, but do not know for how long. I had this at Sushi Taro, 1503 17th St NW. They also had the Hakushu 18 which I had not seen stateside before.

@galg

Nose: Wait! Is this a whisky or a perfume? I could wear this instead of cologne. it’s that good a nose! rich and luxurious with vanilla licorice oranges oak spices . Some wood varnish with sweet , almost bourbon like in character but much more perfumed. A real treat of a nose. I just love it. Palate: starting off with a malty note, sweet dough , spices , cinnamon some dried fruits mainly plum and date.Vanilla shines though but quite a lovely sherry touch to it as well.

Finish : Vanilla and malty dough, fairly long.

In one word: Exquisite. Fragrant, seductive and so drinkable. it’s dangerous. A great whisky. and a great example that blended whisky can be awesome.

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